Dr. Christoph Hamelmann, Representative of World Health Organization (WHO) in Iran by attending a three-day (14-16 November 2018) international congress on “Health for Peace” in Shiraz highlighted the mission of the Organization to promote health, keep the world safe, and serving particularly the vulnerable in the time of conflicts and sanctions.
By referring to the new WHO General Programme of Work for 2019-2023 he said, our three strategic goals are focused on achieving universal health coverage, addressing health emergencies, and promoting healthier populations that will directly contribute to increasing social protection and social cohesion in different countries in the region including the Islamic Republic of Iran.
War and conflicts are a major cause for death and injury, the breakdown of and reduced access to health systems, the increase incidence of communicable diseases, reduced water and sanitation and disease prevention, psychosocial effects and malnutrition.
“The International Health Regulations play an important role for health, peace and security and we encourage and support all Member States in their commitment and obligation to implement them as signatories” Dr. Hamelmann said.
The Representative of WHO underscored: “we understand our role as advocate for the basic human right to health and a life in peace, security and protection, as one important voice of the United Nation family in a world of increasing conflict affecting in particular the most vulnerable populations, whether this in a context of sanctions, of armed conflicts or even direct attacks on the health workforce in humanitarian settings”.
He also made reference to a Nov 8 WHO press release on the critical health situation in Yemen quoting Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean urging all parties in the conflict in Yemen to respect their legal obligations under the International Humanitarian Law to ensure the protection of health workers, patients, health facilities, ambulances, and communities and to facilitate humanitarian access to areas where people need our help most.
The WHO Emergency Risk Management and Humanitarian Response department works closely with Member States, international partners, and local institutions to help communities prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies, disasters and crises.
On the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with 17 goals, among them goal 16 calling for the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, for access to justice for all and for building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels, and among them goal 3 calling for ensuring healthy lives and well-being for all at all ages.
The International Congress on Health for Peace that has been hosted by Shiraz University of Medical Sciences in collaboration with the Health and Medical Education of the Islamic Republic of Iran brought together a considerable number of medical experts and representatives from foundations and practitioners active in the realm of health from WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, International Committee of the Red Cross and some non-governmental international organizations.